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the Almighty poured down, and refting upon itworks and labours of love cheerfully performed, and graciously accepted-every foe fubdured, and every ground of fear forever removed. Here may we not apply to this tribe in particular, what Mofes, in the clofe, applies to Ifrael in general? "Happy art thou O Levi who is like unto thee, O people faved by the Lord, the fhield of thy help, and who is the fword of thy excellency! and thine enemies fhall be found liars unto thee, and thou fhalt tread upon their high places."*
Such were the functions, the privileges, the honours and the emoluments of the Levitical priesthood. They fuggeft to the christian ministry, the vigilance, diligence, fidelity and zeal which become thofe "who muft give account"-the neceffity laid upon them "to declare the whole counfel of God"-the affured fupport on which they may depend, while they confcientiously aim at doing their duty-the glorious "recompense of reward," which is laid up for "the good and faithful fervant," in that day "when they that be wife fhall fhine as the brightnefs of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever." May the power of fuch motives be felt and understood by all who bear the facred and important office, that by them they may be rendered ❝ftedfaft, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forafmuch as they know that their labour is not in vain in the Lord."
The farther progrefs of Mofes through the remaining tribes of Ifrael fhall be the fubject of the next
* Deut. xxxiii. 29.
↑ Dan. xii. 3.
History of Mofes.
DEUTERONOMY XXXI. 1.
And this is the bleffing wherewith Mofes the man of Go bleffed the children of Ifrael before his death.
THE rich man in hell is reprefented* as entertaining the fond belief, that the return of one from the dead would certainly be effectual, to the conviction and amendment of a thoughtless and impenitent generation. And men in general are difpofed to ascribe an infallible efficacy to means fabricated in their own imagination, while, at the fame time, they wilfully neglect to use those which God has appointed, whofe operation is undoubted, and of which they are in the entire poffeffion. The man of one talent lays it up in a napkin and buries it, because he cannot, with one, do the work of five or of ten. One man is an infidel, because the miraculous powers which once accompanied the preaching of the gofpel, accompany it no more; another affects to defpife all external evidence whatever, and looks at Christianity with a fufpicious eye, because it called in miracles and prophecy to confirm and fupport it. The Jews rejected the counfel of God against themselves, faying, "He cafteth out devils, by Beelzebub the prince of the devils."t The Greeks
* Luke xvi. 27, 28.
+ Matth. xii. 24.
Greeks accounted the doctrine of the crofs foolishness, because it belied their vain philofophy, and exposed their worldly fpirit.
Were it poffible for the human race to affemble in one general council, in order to fettle a mode of religion which fhould fuit the whole, they would speedily be constrained to feparate, without coming to any fpecific, decifive agreement on a point fo effential; for pride, and selfishness, and the fpirit of contradiction, would inftantly raise oppofition, and the most falutary idea would be rejected by one party, for no better reason than that it was adopted by another. Were the rich man to come from the dead, commiffioned" to tell the fecrets of his prifon-houfe;" were Lazarus permitted to leave the bofom of Abraham, in order to display to men the glories of paradife; what could they fay that has not been repeated a thousand and a thousand times? The one would be esteemed by a busy, careless, unbelieving world, a poor, moping, melancholy wretch, fit for a place in Bedlam; the other would be called an enthufiaftic vifionary; and they might, for ought the world cared, return to the places from whence they came, and report that mankind was better employed than to listen to their dreams; that it was election time; that the term was coming on, that a packet was expected, or a fleet arrived.
Men amuse themselves with crying up the advantages of those who faw Chrift going about doing good, "healing all manner of sickness among the people;" of those who heard Paul preach, and the like; but the faithful and true witnefs affures us, that Jefus frequently wrought miracles, and Paul preached in vain. Capernaum, Bethfaida, Jerufalem, remained full of unbelievers; and apoftolic eloquence was called babbling by one, it made another to shake under a temporary fit of trembling, and only "almoft perfuaded" a third to be a christian. VOL. V.
The decifion of father Abraham then, in the pasfage already referred to, is founded in truth and experience. "If they hear not Mofes and the prophets, neither will they be perfuaded though one rofe from the dead."* Mofes fpake from the brink of the grave, and was forgotten the moment his voice ceafed. God himself thundered from Sinai, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likenefs of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyfelf to them, nor ferve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, vifiting the iniquity of the fathers upon children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me :"† and within "a little month" we fea all Ifrael dancing round a golden calf, and faying, "Thefe be thy gods, O Ifrael, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." The Son of Man came down from heaven, difclofed the fecrets of the eternal mind; defcended into the grave, and returned to the earth, and fhewed himself openly. But did infidelity ftop her mouth? No. "Some of the watch came into the city, and fhewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were affembled with the elders, and had taken counfel, they gave large money unto the foldiers, faying, Say ye, his difciples came by night, and ftole him away while we flept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will perfuade him, and fecure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this faying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."§
The circumstances in which Mofes took his last long farewel of his beloved charge, were fuch, one would think, as to leave a lafting, an indelible impreffion on the minds of his hearers; but the fequel fhews us, that the impreffions of gratitude, fympathy, forrow
* Luke xvi. 13. Exod. xxxii. 4.
+ Exod. xx. 4, 5·
Matt. xxviii. 11—15.
and regret, are" as the morning cloud and the early dew, which paffeth away."
-Having finifhed his courfe, and the time of his departure drawing nigh, we behold the man of God making his final progress through the camp of Ifrael; going from tribe to tribe, from standard to standard, faluting every one by his name, and pronouncing over him the cordial benediction of a dying friend. We have accompanied him from Reuben to Judah, and from Judah to Levi, and heard his dying breath confirm the promise of royal dignity to the one, and entail the facred dignity of the priesthood upon the other. They have heard his laft adieu. Their eyes fhall behold him no more. He has now arrived at the encampment of Benjamin. Benjamin, the son of his mother's forrow, the fon of his father's right hand : the laft of Ifrael in the courfe of nature, not the leaft in the affection of his fole furviving parent, nor in importance as one of the heads of the holy commonwealth. Benjamin, deftined of Providence to fupport the throne of David, when fhaken by the revolt of ten tribes. And what is the bleffing of Benjamin?" Of Benjamin he faid, The beloved of the Lord fhall dwell in fafety by him; and the Lord fhall cover him all the day long, and he fhall dwell between his fhoulders."
The courfe in which Mofes proceeded in pronouncing the bleffing, is fuppofed by fome to be prophetically governed, according to the geographical defcription of Canaan, and the order and courfe in which each portion was allotted to every feveral tribe. Benjamin, therefore, is addreffed before his elder brother Jofeph, because the lot of his inheritance was to lie between the lots of Judah and Jofeph, and to border upon each, and this, by confulting the book of Joshua, xviii. 11. you will find was the cafe. And we fhall afterwards find many circumstances concurring to give a diftinction and a confequence to Benjamin, among I 2
* Deut. xxxiii. 12